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Is Average Tree Lifespan a Meaningful Number?

Updated: Mar 6

Leda Marritz, 2014-07-09


The article is based on a study carried out by Lara Roman, a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service. It talks about the life expectancy of urban trees and how it can be further improved.

The field data on urban tree mortality suggest that as the number of trees originally planted die over time, community foresters must keep replacing trees, year after year, to have any chance of increasing population counts and canopy cover. Predictions about half-life could then be used as guidelines for managing planting and replacement cycles. As explained in the article, the half-life is “the time by which half of the planted trees can be expected to die". The concept of half-life may be a more meaningful measure of urban forest longevity.

In conclusion, Roman urges that in urban forestry the emphasis must shift from the count of trees planted to the records of trees that survived.

Tags: life expectancy of trees

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